Delaware County Times
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, has plans to introduce legislation again that would make changes to the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes in presidential elections.
Currently, the state uses a winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Pileggi said his legislation would allocate electoral votes proportionately.
“Under the proportional proposal, two of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors are chosen on a statewide, at-large basis (representing the two senatorial electors),” Pileggi wrote in the co-sponsorship memo Monday. “The remaining 18 electors are chosen based on the percentage of the statewide vote earned by each candidate (rounded to the thousandths).
“For example, President Obama won 52.088 (percent) of the vote in November. Under this system, (Obama) would have received 12 of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors (the two statewide electors plus 10 of the 18 remaining electors, which would be distributed proportionately). The advantage of this system is clear: It much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state.”
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, criticized Pileggi’s proposal, saying it was crafted to rig future election results.
“At least Dominic Pileggi was candid enough to admit he was unhappy Mitt Romney lost,” Leach said. “This is not the answer. The answer is to offer more compelling candidates.”
While Pennsylvania is run by a Republican Legislature and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, voters have backed the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1992. Leach said Republicans in control of states that normally back GOP presidential candidates have not shown any interest in changing their rules.
Leach believes it makes more sense to back National Popular Vote Compact legislation, which he said would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states.
“We don’t know who my proposal will help, but we do know whose proposal Dominic’s will help,” he said.
Pileggi noted that his latest proposal is not the same as his previous proposal in Senate Bill 1282.
“That legislation would have allocated electors based on a district system,” he said.
Under the previous plan, candidates would have garnered an electoral vote for each of the state’s 18 congressional districts that they carry; the other two electoral votes would have gone to the winner of the statewide balloting.
Democrats and even some Republicans criticized Pileggi’s previous proposal.
While Pileggi’s first proposal had the backing of Corbett, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason believed the party could carry the state in the 2012 election and questioned why proponents were so eager to change the system. Democrats argued the proposal was unconstitutional and done to rig election results.
Erik Arneson, Pileggi’s spokesman, said the senator believes his new proposal much more fairly represents the will of the voters statewide in Pennsylvania. Pileggi believes a lot of the concerns raised in the original proposal from 2011 have been addressed, according to Arneson.
In addition, Pileggi believes the timing of his latest proposal is better. Arneson said many people raised concerns that the previous proposal was introduced too close to a presidential election “and obviously we could not be any further from a presidential election as we are now, so that concern should be gone.”